DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) held a change of command and retirement ceremony on board Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Va. Dec. 16.
Capt. Frank Castellano became the sixth commanding officer of CSCS when he relieved Capt. Bill McKinley. McKinley had been CSCS' commanding officer since May 2014 and retired after 29 years of active naval service.
Castellano assumed responsibility of CSCS, including 15 learning sites, units and detachments, which develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority.
Rear Adm. Mike White, commander, Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), was the guest speaker at the event and discussed McKinley's successful career as a naval officer.
"All Bill's achievements revolve around his ability to keep the Fleet first, support Type Commanders, and to maintain a calm demeanor while working with stakeholders to build a consensus on the way forward," White said. "His truly remarkable insight and drive have markedly changed the way our Sailors will learn in the future. His impact will be felt for generations, and he delivered the Sailors with the skills to fight and win."
McKinley stated that like every commanding officer, he was proud of his command.
"That pride extends to everyone and everything," he said. "CSCS serves the fleet. Everything we do and all that we are is focused on the Sailors who go into harm's way. CSCS is integrated with the fleet. Our instructors are on ships every day teaching Sailors. We are relevant and operational. CSCS is deeply integrated within surface warfare. We are a stakeholder with other surface warfare learning centers and we all have one goal; to protect and improve training. CSCS represents high standards. From leading on issues like refining Procedural Compliance training to improving the procedures for curriculum development to support High Velocity Learning. Finally, CSCS has come to represent innovation. From Aegis Ashore...to the Littoral Combat Ship Training Facility...to the complete revision and modernization of Sonar Technician Surface rate training...we are on the leading edge and exemplify many of the tenants of Ready, Relevant Learning."
White commented on the future of CSCS under the new leadership.
"As you can see from his bio, Capt. Castellano is exceptionally qualified to continue the critical work here at CSCS," White said. "He has a wealth of knowledge and background gathered from his many assignments throughout the Fleet, as well as very successful tours commanding ships at sea. As commanding officer of USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), he was also involved in the 2009 rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips following his kidnapping from the MV Maersk Alabama."
Castellano is looking forward to his role as CSCS commanding officer.
"I am ready to move forward with you as we continue to tackle the challenges we face while always keeping in mind those Sailors on ships who go into harm's way armed with the training and education that we provide them," Castellano said. "I am honored to lead CSCS as its commanding officer."
White explained that is a tremendous honor to command at sea, and those we choose for command have a special responsibility.
"So I am privileged to stand here with two of our Navy's finest surface warfare officers," he said. "Each is a visionary leader, caring mentor, and skilled mariner."
CSCS' mission is to develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority. CSCS headquarters' staff oversees 15 Learning Sites and provides nearly 70,000 hours of curriculum for 700 courses a year to 38,000 Sailors. CSCS delivers specialized training for Officer and Enlisted Sailors required to tactically operate, maintain, and employ shipboard and shore-based weapons, sensors, and command and control systems utilized in today's Navy.
For information on the Center for Surface Combat Systems, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/cscs/
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